Intel to Allow Antivirus Engines to Use Integrated GPUs for Malware Scanning

Intel

Intel announced yesterday at the RSA 2018 security conference several new security-focused technologies, among which is a feature that will let security products offload virus scanning operations to integrated graphics processors embedded with some Intel CPUs.

The name of this new technology is Intel Accelerated Memory Scanning. Intel says it developed this new capability to allow antivirus engines to cut down on CPU utilization, freeing up resources for other apps but also saving battery life by using embedded GPUs, when present.

Benchmark shows significant improvements

Currently, all modern security software uses a computer’s CPU to scan the local filesystem for malware, a process known to be extremely taxing on local CPU and memory resources.

“Early benchmarking on Intel test systems show CPU utilization dropped from 20 percent to as little as 2 percent,” Intel vice president Rick Echevarria said in a press release.

Microsoft Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection’s (ATP), the commercial version of Windows Defender, is already using this feature.

Two new other Intel security features announced

Besides Accelerated Memory Scanning, Intel also launched two other new technologies at yesterday’s RSA event.

The second is Intel Advanced Platform Telemetry, a tool that combines platform telemetry with machine learning for faster threat detection. Cisco said it would deploy this new technology with the Cisco Tetration platform, which provides security and cloud workload protection for data centers across the globe.

The third is Intel Security Essentials, which is a collection of root-of-trust hardware security capabilities that will be deployed with Intel’s Core, Xeon, and Atom processor series.

“These capabilities are platform integrity technologies for secure boot, hardware protections (for data, keys and other digital assets), accelerated cryptography and trusted execution enclaves to protect applications at runtime,” Echevarria said.

While no other details have been revealed, Intel said that the Security Essentials capabilities are all hardware-based, silicon-level security features meant to allow app developers to build security-focused apps that need to handle sensitive data in a secure manner.

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